Analysts from the Praxis political think tank will over the next few days release a number of interim reports on the status of the People’s Assembly, an online citizen’s forum spearheaded by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
“Every issue will have a summary that will help answer questions. After that, experts will add their own comments to the summaries and try to describe what their impact would be,” analyst Annika Uudelepp told ERR radio.
Uudelepp noted the popularity of proposed reforms to disallow a practice under which political parties transfer votes from one candidate to a more favored one.
“Reading the draft summaries, I noticed that people want to get rid of the sharing of compensation mandates in national elections […] although only 20 percent of the positions in Parliament are delegated in this way. People really want to see MPs voted into office based on how many votes they got. If compensation mandates are preserved, then preferably under an open electoral list system, not one with closed lists determined by the parties,” said Uudelepp.
“[Implementing this reform] would certainly focus the need for popularity among politicians, as the number of votes collected will become a more important factor than currently,” Uudelepp said.
The reports, which analyze and categorize close to 2,000 proposals and 5,600 comments, will be uploaded to the rahvakogu.ee website, where readers can get involved in the comments section.
The website lets Estonians chime in on laws that have recently received popular rebuke, mainly regarding the electoral system and political parties. The initiative was announced last November during a meeting Ilves called with decision makers in light of widespread criticism of the government.
In January, people could submit ideas for reform by logging onto the website with their national ID cards. In February, analysts have filtered through and pick the best of the proposals, a process that will be followed by debates involving 500 selected citizens in March. The final goal is to present the proposals to Parliament in April.